Abe was clearly undergoing a crisis of faith. "He's got me shanking," he said gloomily. "I've never shanked."
By Day 7, our swing changes no longer felt so strange, and Lyons could stop watching his back.
The point is, most golf schools warn you that you'll probably leave them hitting the ball worse than you've ever hit it in your life. This is normal, maybe even desirable. The Golf Digest pros even told us how long it would take us to get comfortable with our swing changes: 21 days. That's 21 practice days, not 21 calendar days; and if you got mixed up and started practicing the wrong thing, that meant 21 more days.
Back home in Kansas City, it's Day 98, and I keep getting asked what I have to show for my time and dollars. I pull out my Ben Sutton "checklist and graph check analysis" with the eight-frame sequential photographs of my swing; the Golf Digest video of my swing; my Ben Sutton golf balls; my Golf Digest visor and tote bag; the golf ball decanter of whisky I won in the Ben Sutton scramble tournament....
No, I am interrupted, what did you learn?
Oh. From Toby Lyons I learned that nifty little finesse pitch—a great shot off tight lies and from wooded areas where there's no room for a follow-through.
From the Golf Digest school I learned a dependable greenside lob for hitting over a bunker, a consistent bunker shot and a preshot routine that eliminates mishit chips.
I also learned that I'm going to be working on my full swing for the rest of my life.